Happy holidays to all! First time bike rider who is looking to ride a bike for the purposes of exercising (weight loss/cardio benifits) on paved roads. Just bought a hybrid bike from a Sun and Ski outlet. I was made an offer for a North Star CX320 for $269.00, which I could not resist, as I was very close to buying a Trek 7200 for $350.00. Money was an issue, and the bikes looked very similar so I went the cheaper one from Sun ans Ski. My concern is I've not been able to get any information/opinions from the internet on this North Star CX320. So I'm now concerned whether or not I will regret going cheap. Any one out there familiar with the North Star CX320 and/or familiar with the quality of Sun and Ski products?
In NJ you can take back retail purchases within 72 hours for a full refund. For the small difference in price you will have piece-of-mind and support from Trek on the 7200. And it won't matter where you live or are riding. Sun & Ski? Whats that got to do with biking? Stick with the brand name stuff from a real bike shop or get onto eBay and save some real money.
I'm guessing it is a house brand bike. Probably made in Taiwan or China specifically for that retailer. You might find the exact same bike elsewhere with different paint and name. Some house brand bikes hold up fine, others will start to fall apart immediately. Looking at the components and frame material/weight will give you a clue as to which type you bought. What type of shifters, cranks and deraileurs does it have? (If Shimano, which Shimano?). What is the frame made out of?
I can't find a link to North Star Bicycles on Google; although it seems like they may possibly make or market ATB components; the parts and the bikes are probably mass produced cheaply overseas just like Pacific and other department store-brand bikes. It will probably work OK for a cheap beginner bike, but I wouldn't count on it in the long run - you get what you pay for, and they're all nice and shiny when they're new...I'd go back for the Trek, myself, I've been riding a Trek 7300 (with a few upgrades to the seat and handlebars) for two years now and it's a pretty sweet commuter ride...and Trek and your LBS will provide good service and warranty support (if you ever need it)...
Thanks Slider for your input. Since my post, I've determined that this bike is in fact made by a co. called "Roland" ?? (hope the spelling is right). It is made in Taiwan with the brand name name of North Star, sold only by Sun and Ski. Getting closer I hope.
Regarding yout questions....... "Looking at the components and frame material/weight will give you a clue as to which type you bought. What type of shifters, cranks and deraileurs does it have? (If Shimano, which Shimano?). What is the frame made out of?"........any suggestions/brands as to what to look forto determine quality?
On a limited budget, the "right bike" may be the one that gets you a bike, helmet, and gloves instead of just the bike. Since your a first time bike rider, just ride it and see if cycling is for you. If it is, then upgrade later.
Since you bought the bike from Sun and Ski, make sure they provide service for it (at least the first checkup), especially after the first 50-100 miles when cables have had time to stretch.
any suggestions/brands as to what to look forto determine quality?
At that price I would hope the entire frame is made of aluminum or chromoly. Look out for phrases like "chromoly main frame" or simply "steel" as that usually means that it has mild steel tubes that are extremely heavy. I'd avoid bikes at that price that don't have Shimano shifters and deraileurs. Compare them to what comes on the trek to get an idea of their quality. You can go to the Shimano site to see how they rank/rate their systems.
Look for something from the Road or MTB categories as opposed to "Comfort and Recreation". Anything less than an 8 speed cogset on a new (adult) bike should probably be avoided as well.
More than likely the bike has off brand cranks as that is a good way to save money (and add weight). If you're lucky it will be Shimano or TA. Overall, without seeing the bike, I'd have to agree that the Trek is the safer alternative. I used to work at REI, though, and they have house brand bikes that are a good deal for the money and tend to hold up.
If you ride down to the corner to buy cigarettes on saturdays go to the Walmart and buy an inexpensive bike.
If you ride 15 miles on weekends, go to the bike shop and buy a nice bike.
If you ride 2000 miles per year, go and get a custom bike made.
The thing is if cycling becomes a big part of your life, economizing on the bike really does not make that much sense. If you put the time into it, you can justify just about anything your little heart desires.
This brings up another point. The riding style that you develop will dictate the kind of bike you probably should get. If you just want to go out and cruise the local bike paths, well a hybrid is probably just fine. If you get into fast recreational road cycling, you want a "racing" bike.
A comment on the one you got. If you think that this will catch on, go get the better bike. But if the bike is just going to hang in the garage, well a cheap bike does that just as well as an expensive one.
I'm also in San Antonio, and after doing a lot of research (ok a little research), I went to the local Trek dealer. You might just want to take the bike to them and have them point out to you why you should take it back and get the Trek 7200. Of course you'll get some sales pitch, but the guys on Blanco really look like there in it for the sport and not to make a ton of money.